AVG does a solid job of blocking viruses and other online threats, but it’s not the fastest security suite, nor the most user-friendly
- Strong malware defences
- Additional network and identity protections
- Slows down web browsing
- Drab, fiddly interface
AVG Internet Security comes from the same stable as Avast One and both suites use the same core protection engines. Even so, AVG is a distinctive proposition, with a more streamlined feature set than Avast and, if you shop around online, a much lower price.
That’s generally a good thing, as it gives you an affordable way to get a solid antivirus solution. However, AVG Internet Security isn’t as appealing overall as its sibling. We found it had a greater impact on system performance, and the interface isn’t as clear or attractive.
AVG Internet Security could be a smart purchase, especially if you have a lot of computers to protect – the ten-device licence, in particular, is almost laughably cheap. However, our best antivirus recommendations include several alternatives that will give you a wider feature set and a more generally agreeable experience.
AVG Internet Security review: What do you get for the money?
The basic antivirus features in AVG Internet Security are identical to those found in Avast One. The File Shield blocks files that match the signatures of known malware, while the Behaviour Shield intercepts programs that behave in a suspicious way. The Web Shield scans your internet traffic for threats, while the dedicated Ransomware Protection module prompts you to authorise any untrusted programs that try to access your personal folders.
Avast’s friendly firewall is replicated here too, as is the network inspector module that provides a one-click scan of your home network to flag up any intruders or vulnerable devices. The software will automatically alert you if a rogue program tries to access your webcam or if someone tries to gain remote access to your desktop. And it will warn you if any of your passwords leak online, so you can urgently change them.
AVG offers a few free add-ons that can be downloaded separately, too, namely a dedicated secure browser, a plugin for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Opera that warns you away from risky sites, and a simple password manager. You don’t need to buy the suite to use these – they’re free for everyone.
While AVG shares much DNA with Avast One, it’s a simpler package, with no built-in VPN and no system tune-up tools. Actually, that last point is a touchy subject, because the default “Smart Scan” scans not only for viruses but for potential performance issues – and then invites you to cough up an extra £24 per year for the optional AVG TuneUp module to remedy them.
Still, the standard AVG suite can be had much more cheaply than Avast One. A 12-month, three-device licence for AVG Internet Security costs just £12 on Amazon and you can step up to two years and ten devices for £17, equivalent to about 7p per device per month. If you want the tune-up tools and integrated VPN, the all-inclusive AVG Ultimate suite can be bought as cheaply as £13 for a single PC.
For basic protection, you could alternatively install the AVG Antivirus Free package, which includes basic file and web protection, plus a slightly cut-down version of AVG’s custom firewall. However, you don’t get the network scanner or anti-ransomware features, nor the webcam protection or hijack-blocking modules. You might be better off sticking with Windows’ built-in protections, or with the free Avast One Essentials.
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AVG Internet Security review: Will it keep you safe?
Whichever flavour of AVG you go for, you get the benefit of a highly effective anti-malware engine. Independent testing lab AV-Test.org included both AVG and Avast in its latest roundup of consumer security suites, which challenged antivirus products with more than 11,000 threats (including both prevalent and brand-new “zero-day” malware) during January and February of 2023. Both suites provided impeccable protection:
|AV-Test.org protection results, Jan/Feb 2023 (%)||0-day Jan||0-day Feb||Widespread Jan||Widespread Feb|
|AVG Internet Security||100||100||100||100|
|Avira Internet Security||100||100||100||100|
|Bitdefender Internet Security||100||100||100||100|
|Eset Internet Security||98.9||98.3||100||100|
|G Data Total Security||100||100||100||100|
|McAfee Total Protection||100||100||100||100|
|Microsoft Windows Defender||100||100||100||100|
|Norton 360 Deluxe||100||100||100||100|
|Trend Micro Internet Security||100||100||100||100|
Austrian security specialist AV-Comparatives found much the same. In its March 2023 malware protection test, AVG and Avast One were again in lockstep, with matching results for both detection and protection, against an onslaught of more than 10,000 malware samples:
|AV-Comparatives protection results, March 2023 (%)||Offline detection||Online detection||Online protection||False positives|
|AVG Internet Security||96.90%||99.50%||99.97%||2|
|Avira Internet Security||97.00%||99.10%||99.96%||2|
|Bitdefender Internet Security||98.10%||98.10%||99.94%||6|
|ESET Internet Security||97.40%||97.40%||99.94%||0|
|G Data Total Security||98.80%||98.80%||99.95%||2|
|McAfee Total Protection||89.60%||99.70%||99.99%||9|
|Microsoft Windows Defender||83.10%||99.30%||99.98%||32|
|Norton 360 Deluxe||91.10%||99.70%||99.99%||3|
|Trend Micro Internet Security||60.90%||91.80%||97.19%||10|
It’s true that AVG Internet Security didn’t quite keep up a perfect performance here; a few competitors managed even higher scores (including Windows Defender). Even so, it’s hard to quibble with 99.97% protection – and it’s notable that AVG’s rivals couldn’t match its false positive rate, which was one of the lowest on test. In all, you can expect reliable, accurate protection from AVG.
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AVG Internet Security review: Will it slow your computer down?
We can’t say we find AVG Internet Security a pleasure to use. In our view the grey and green colour scheme is drab and ugly, and navigating around its numerous pages can be confusing. Even though the suite has fewer functions than the Avast One interface, the absence of a clear main menu or map makes it much easier to get lost.
AVG also feels quite different to Avast when it comes to performance. Whether we were downloading executables and ZIP files or displaying JPEGs and PDFs inside the browser, AVG not only proved slower than Avast One, it ranked among the slowest security suites we’ve tried. For example, with AVG installed, Chrome took a total of 2.5 seconds to display our ten JPEG images, while Avast took just 0.53 seconds. To put that into context, Bitdefender managed the same feat in 0.45 seconds, Norton 360 opened all images in 0.52 seconds and even Windows Defender completed the task in 0.96 seconds.
With direct downloads, AVG wasn’t so far behind but it was still nowhere near the winner’s podium. We had to wait 42 seconds for ten ZIP files to download, while Windows Defender delivered them in 17.7 seconds.
Our observations were echoed by AV-Test. That lab found AVG one of the worst offenders for slowing down web access, with an average impact of 30% across its tests in January and February. And while AV-Comparatives didn’t report any issues with web browsing, its October 2022 performance tests noted that AVG had an impact on how long it took for desktop applications to launch, and gave it a second-tier rating of “fast” rather than “very fast” for this task.
AVG Internet Security review: Should you buy it?
AVG Internet Security is arrestingly affordable and offers a decent set of features, protecting you not only from malware but against network threats, hackers, identity leaks and more. If you’re looking to pay the bare minimum for something a bit more all-encompassing than Windows Defender, this suite definitely ought to be on your radar.
The user experience isn’t without its trip hazards, however. We found that AVG Internet Security had an unfortunate impact on web browsing speed, the interface is pokey and confusing and, when the software starts steering you towards paid-for add-ons, that inevitably shakes one’s trust a little.
For most people, therefore, we’d recommend weighing AVG against alternatives such as Bitdefender or Norton, which cost little more and promise more features in a slicker package. Or, if you like the cut of AVG’s jib, take a look at Avast One instead: the price is again slightly higher but you’ll get the very same protection in a more rounded and, frankly, more likeable suite.